A memorial was held at Orange County Great Park to mark the 50th anniversary of the worst air disaster in county history and honor those who died.
A jet taking off from El Toro Marine Corps Base, now home to the Great Park, crashed into Loma Ridge minutes after takeoff, killing all 84 servicemen aboard who were headed for Okinawa on their way to Vietnam on June 25, 1965.
The names of the servicemen were not placed on the Vietnam Memorial because they died in the United States and had not received their official orders, according to event organizers. So Jordan Fourcher, for his Eagle Scout project, has created a “Memorial Kiosk” at the Aviation and Heritage Museum at the Great Park.
“I am honored to have been able to do an Eagle Scout project, which means so much to so many people,” Fourcher said of Saturday’s event.
Fourcher is a member of Boy Scout Troop 90 in Newport Beach.
Sharon Randall said her husband, Cpl. Paul Thomas Chapin, died in the crash, when their son was just three months old.
“For me, this has become another part of the healing that I didn’t even know I needed,” she said. “I am coming (to the dedication) from Oklahoma and my son is coming from Texas with his three children.”
Chapin’s brother, Joe, also is grateful.
“There are simply no words to express my gratitude to you,” Joe Chapin said.
Irvine Mayor Steven Choi and Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Mimi Walters are expected to speak at the dedication.
The event will also feature a U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard and a Missing Man Flyover with World War II-era aircraft.
About 40 family members of the servicemen killed in the crash are coming from around the country to be on hand for the event, organizers said.
—City News Service
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: